The Prometheus Saga Author Interview: Crystal Night by Charles A. Cornell
AUTHOR CHARLES A. CORNELL
Our featured author today is Charles A. Cornell, author of "Crystal Night", a short story in The Prometheus Saga. "Crystal Night" is available for FREE on Kindle today, 3/24 - 3/28, so be sure to download your copy!
Welcome, Charles! How does your work differ from others in its genre?
In my thriller, Tiger Paw, I definitely channeled my 'inner Edgar Allan Poe'. Woven into the intrigue and suspense are elements of the macabre and the occult. This portrayal of the dark side of human nature can also be found in my sci-fi/fantasy novel, DragonFly in the character of Nazi wizard, Reichsfuhrer Morax. My novels unabashedly contain a strong 'good vs evil' theme as the main protagonists are in an 'against all odds' journey to triumph over the worst mankind has to offer. I like to think out of the box regarding the plot, embed a twist or two, and definitely want my work to be unique. Why write what others have already written?
Why do you write what you write?
Why? Simply, to make people think. My novels have a lot of historical and social messages embedded in them. I view my work as having three layers, like peeling back an onion. The outer layer is entertainment. My thrillers thrill, and my sci-fi creates wonder as it should. The next layer is information. My references to history or descriptions of locations are intended to make the reader curious to find out more. Underlying all of that is meaning. In Tiger Paw, set on Wall Street, how much money & power is enough, and how much is too much? In DragonFly, can a woman succeed in a man's World War? The answer is yes, spectacularly!
How does your writing process work?
I'm an outliner or plotter. I need to know my story's ending ahead of time. This is especially important when writing a mystery or thriller in order to seed clues into the narrative. I outline using old fashioned paper index cards laid on a big table so I can glance at the whole structure at once. The process is usually accompanied by a glass of wine. Once the forty chapters or so are roughed with a sentence or two on each card that captures the scene, I transfer them to my iPad into a writing app called Storyist. There I can change their order and rearrange to my heart's content. I write the draft on the iPad in Storyist and export it to Word on my desktop when I think I've done enough self-editing. I send that out to professional editors, do their recommended revisions when it comes back, and then self-publish.
Tell me more about your short story in The Prometheus Saga. Why did you pick that episode in history?
I have an affinity for World War Two history. Both my parents served in the British Royal Air Force during the war. My mother was a 'grease monkey', a mechanic on Spitfires and Mustangs. My father retired in the fifties with the rank of Squadron Leader. Both my parents have passed away and the survivors, both military and civilian, from those war years are passing at an incredible rate. At some point soon we may hear that the last WW2 veteran is gone and we will only have books and videos to understand those turbulent times. One of the things I'm trying to do is find ways to connect the lessons of WW2 to a younger generation. I thought, what about science fiction? So I wrote DragonFly, a sci-fi fantasy about a female British pilot fighting Nazi wizards and monsters in an experimental fighter plane, the DragonFly, which is fueled by water. When we came up with the premise for The Prometheus Saga, my mind immediately gravitated to WW2 and in particular the Holocaust. What would an alien have thought about how people treated each other inside the Third Reich?
What are your writing plans for 2015? What does the new year hold in store for you?
Last year I launched DragonFly, a collision of science fiction & fantasy in the dieselpunk genre. I'm working on its sequel, 'Spies in Manhattan' as well as some short companion fiction to the DragonFly world. I have a crazy number of projects in the concept and outlining stage. There will be a third DragonFly novel called 'The Machine That Changed The World'. I'm really excited about starting a five-novel futuristic science fiction series I've planned and have begun outlining. That may be the next world I build after the DragonFly books. But I promised my readers I would write the second and third book in my FBI thriller series, Tiger Paw. Did I also mention steampunk & dystopian? Yes, I have novel concepts underway in both of those genres too. I reckon I have at least ten years of writing ahead of me to completely write everything I've imagined , and that doesn't count anything else I might dream up in the future.
ABOUT THE AUTHORCharles A. Cornell writes thrillers with a touch of the macabre and pens a unique form of science fiction blended with fantasy and alternative history known as dieselpunk. His awards include the 2012 Royal Palm Literary Award for Best Thriller for Tiger Paw and another RPLA in 2014 in the science fiction category for his illustrated dieselpunk novel DragonFly. He fuels his creativity from inside the chaos of everyday life and you can follow his musings at www.CharlesACornell.com. He's a proud member of the Florida Writers Association and the Alvarium Experiment. ‘Alvarium’ is Latin for beehive. The Alvarium Experiment is a unique collaboration of fourteen authors reinventing the short fiction experience. Their first short fiction collection is The Prometheus Saga.
The Saga spans the range of the existence of Homo sapiens. The stories do not need to be read in any particular order; each story is an entry point into the overall story.
The Prometheus Saga stories & authors are:
“The Pisces Affair” by Daco Auffenorde. CIA operative Jordan Jakes meets Prometheus when the Secretary of State becomes the target of a terrorist attack at a head-of-state dinner in Dubai. Visit Daco at www.authordaco.com.
“On Both Sides” by Bria Burton. When a mysterious woman vanishes during the American Revolution, young Robby Freeman searches for answers from a cryptic sharpshooter who deserted Washington’s Continental Army. Visit Bria at www.briaburton.com.
“Ever After” by M.J. Carlson. Two mysterious women convey the same Cinderella story to Giambattista Basile in 1594 and Jacob and Wilhelm Grimm in 1811. How different cultures retell this story reveals humanity’s soul to those who listen. Visit M.J. at www.mjcarlson.com.
“The Blurred Man” by Bard Constantine. FBI agent Dylan Plumm's investigation of a mill explosion puts her on the trail of the Blurred Man, a mysterious individual who may have been on Earth for centuries. Visit Bard at www.bardwritesbooks.com.
“Crystal Night” by Charles A. Cornell. Berlin, 1938. On the eve of one of history’s darkest moments, a Swedish bartender working in Nazi Germany accidentally uncovers a woman’s hidden past. Can he avoid becoming an accomplice as the Holocaust accelerates? Visit Charles at www.charlesacornell.com.
“Marathon” by Doug Dandridge. Prometheus, posing as a citizen of Athens, participates in the battle of Marathon alongside the playwright Aeschylus. Visit Doug at www.dougdandridge.net.
“The Strange Case of Lord Byron’s Lover” by Parker Francis. Writing in her journal, Mary Shelley recounts a series of perplexing events during her visit with Lord Byron—a visit that resulted in the creation of her famous Frankenstein novel, but also uncovered a remarkable mystery. Visit Parker at www.parkerfrancis.com.
“Strangers on a Plane” by Kay Kendall. In 1969 during a flight across North America, a young mother traveling with her infant meets an elderly woman who displays unusual powers. But when a catastrophe threatens, are those powers strong enough to avert disaster? This short story folds into Kay’s mystery series featuring the young woman, amateur sleuth Austin Starr. Visit Kay at www.kaykendallauthor.com.
“East of the Sun” by Jade Kerrion. Through a mysterious map depicting far-flung lands, a Chinese sailor in 1424 and a Portuguese cartographer in 1519 share a vision of an Earth far greater than the reality they know. Visit Jade at www.jadekerrion.com.
“Manteo” by Elle Andrews Patt. In 1587, Croatan native Manteo returns from London to Roanoke Island, Virginia. Can he reconcile his strong loyalty to the untamed land and people of his home with his desire for the benefits the colonizing English bring with them before one of them destroys the other? Visit Elle at www.elleandrewspatt.com.
“First World War” by Ken Pelham. 40,000 BC: As the last remaining species of hominid, Homo sapiens and Homo neanderthalensis, fight a desperate battle for ownership of the future, the outcasts of both sides find themselves caught in middle. Visit Ken at www.kenpelham.com.
“Lilith” by Antonio Simon, Jr. In this retelling of the Adam & Eve story, a hermit’s life is turned upside-down by the arrival of a mysterious woman in his camp. As the story of their portentous meeting carries forward through the millennia, only time will tell if Lilith is a heroine, a victim, or a monster. Visit Antonio at www.DarkwaterSyndicate.com.
“Fifteen Dollars’ Guilt” by Antonio Simon, Jr. 1881: After a close brush with death in a steamship disaster, Prometheus encounters another survivor who gripes about how aimless his life has become. Prometheus helps him find his calling, inadvertently setting in motion the assassination of President Garfield. Visit Antonio at www.DarkwaterSyndicate.com.
Visit the website to view all of the stories: The Prometheus Saga